Just like the Astros, the Cubs were the punching bag of the NL Central for several years before becoming World Series champions. Between 2010 and 2014, the Cubs were in fifth place in the NL Central. Once the Astros left in 2013, the Cubs were officially at the bottom of the barrel in the division.
Even though 2014 was a losing season, the Cubs showed some signs of life. Jake Arrieta and Anthony Rizzo were both five-win players with top prospects Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Albert Amora, and Jorge Soler all in the system. All were contributors to the team’s 2015 NL Central crown and the team’s World Series title last year.
You could make the argument that Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, and Dylan Cozens could be the pieces the team needs to regain the NL East crown, but it’s still way too early to tell. When the Cubs won the division in 2015, they were considered ahead of schedule in their rebuild.