Since Theo Epstein joined the Cubs, the North Siders have focused on acquiring young talent and setting their rebuilding plan in motion.
Epstein has done a solid job so far, turning unneeded veterans into potentially useful parts as the Cubs attempt to build a young team around cornerstones Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs have made clear progress in Epstein's first year, and there is significant hope for the future in Chicago.
But the Cubs are not the only team with a plan for the future. Several clubs in the NL Central have the pieces in place to compete in this division throughout the next decade.
I attempted to rank each team's "young core," comprised of players age 27 and under who are either currently in the majors or are expected to make the majors by early 2014, in order to determine who is in the best shape in the division. It is important to remember that teams like the Cubs and Cardinals may be in a better position than their current cores suggest, as they have more resources than the competition.