David Denson will start the 2016 season with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Minor League team in the Milwaukee Brewers' farm system. Denson came out publicly as gay last summer and is the only active player in an MLB team system to ever do so.
Last season Denson played in 39 games for the Timber Rattlers with a .226 batting average and .311 on-base percentage. He had been demoted to the Helena Brewers for part of the 2015 season. A return to the Timber Rattlers shows the team has some confidence in his future. He'll be moved to the outfield for this season after mostly playing first base in 2015.
Just by being out in baseball, Denson has made another huge statement. It would have been very easy for the Brewers to demote him or drop him out of their farm system; No one would have said much after his subpar 2015 season. Yet Denson fought hard in the second half of last year, earned the team's respect, and the Brewers chose to bring him, an openly gay man, back for the start of a whole new season.
It's reminiscent of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Brooklyn Nets signing Robbie Rogers and Jason Collins, respectively, after they each came out publicly as gay. While the shadow of Michael Sam's lack of signing in the NFL lingers, Denson and Rogers are both still making waves in their sports.