For many teams, spring training helps gauge what to expect in the upcoming season. For the Atlanta Braves, however, it’s clear that this spring training is more about the seasons to come.

The Braves are in the midst of a rebuilding project after shipping off major pieces last season and this offseason. They sent young lefty Alex Wood to the Dodgers at the end of July. They traded shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Angels in November. Then they moved All-Star right-hander Shelby Miller to Arizona in December.

Today, Atlanta is a much younger team aiming to be great in 2017 and beyond rather than this season. That can be seen in the abundance of young talent the organization has in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

One of the players creating the most excitement among the fanbase is one who likely won’t even be on the roster for the season opener: last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Dansby Swanson.

Swanson came to Atlanta in the Miller trade. The shortstop grew up in the Atlanta area and went to Marietta High School, not far from where the Braves’ new stadium, SunTrust Park, is being built.

Just like with Jeff Francoeur and Jason Heyward in their early years, there’s a lot of excitement about the hometown prospect coming to play for Atlanta. Swanson told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s excited to play for his hometown team.

The shortstop was one of several position players to arrive early to spring training. He hit .289 with one home run, 11 RBI and a .394 OBP in 22 games with the Hillsboro Hops last year.

Swanson will likely get called up to the majors this season. He already has a pretty swing, as he shows in the Cage Cam video below from the Braves’ Twitter account. That’s a positive sign for a player who’s only 22.

Atlanta also has a wealth of young pitching talent. Matt Wisler, a 23-year-old right-hander, is expected to play a significant role in the Braves’ rotation.

In the video below from Grant McAuley of 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Wisler is working on his pitch placement. As a control pitcher, that’s the key to his success. If he can continue to improve his accuracy, he could give the Braves a reliable option in the middle of their rotation.

The Braves are also counting on Mike Foltynewicz. The 24-year-old is still working back after blood clots ended his season in September. O’Brien reported that Foltynewicz threw in the bullpen on Sunday morning for the first time since having surgery in December.

Folty threw the ball well,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told O’Brien. “That’s a nice sign, to get on the mound and get going.”

Another healthy young arm will be valuable for the Braves as they continue their rebuild. But it isn’t all young talent making impressions for Atlanta.

Hector Olivera, the 30-year-old acquired by the Braves in that blockbuster trade with the Dodgers last season, has unveiled a simpler swing to start spring training. You can see in this video from’s Mark Bowman that his motion is smoother and more relaxed:

O’Brien reported that Olivera began tinkering with his swing during winter league play in Puerto Rico with the help of Atlanta hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.

Olivera’s winter league coach, Alex Cora, told O’Brien that Olivera looks comfortable with the new motion.

Hector looks, physically, a lot better in that video,” Cora told O’Brien.

The left fielder will be one of the players tasked with keeping Atlanta afloat while the organization develops all its young talent.

It’s clear that the Braves’ 2016 spring training isn’t really about 2016. It’s about the future. As the season opener approaches, they’ll be focused more on the outlook for their young players than the expectations for this season.

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