While putting together their first winning season since 2000 the Reds won 91 games under manager Dusty Baker and reached the playoffs for the first time in 1995 by winning the National League Central division. Cincinnati battled tooth and nail with the Cardinals for most of the first five months of the season but won the division by five games after St. Louis faded down the stretch. The lineup was led by Joey Votto, who was second in the NL with a .324 batting average and was ranked third with both 37 home runs and 113 RBIs. Votto was supported by strong seasons from Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes, Drew Stubbs and Brandon Phillips while Jay Bruce notched a career-high 25 home runs.
On the pitching side, Bronson Arroyo won a career-high 17 games while stream of young pitchers like Johnny Cueto, Travis Wood and Logan Ondrusek played pivotal roles. The season also marked the highly anticipated arrival of Cuban Aroldis Chapman, who garnered attention while regularly throwing over 100 mph. The Reds enjoyable run ended faster than they hoped as they were swept in three games by the Phillies in the NL Division Series.
Despite high expectations after winning their division the previous season, the Reds ended up disappointing with only 79 wins and a third-place finish in the National League Central. On the plus side, starting pitcher Johnny Cueto shook off an early injury and had his best year yet to develop into the staff ace. Second baseman Brandon Phillips displayed spectacular defense on his way to his third NL Gold Glove Award and was joined by first-time winner Joey Votto, who improved enough defensively to also win a Gold Glove. There were some infamous moments as well. Opening Day starter Edinson Volquez struggled and was demoted to Triple-A twice, while Bronson Arroyo smashed the club record by allowing 46 home runs and Drew Stubbs also set a club record by striking out 205 times.
The 2012 season was important not just for the present, but also the future of the Reds as it began when cornerstone players Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips were signed to long term contracts. On the field, the Reds won 97 games and claimed their second National League Central crown in three seasons. It was a year that saw ace Johnny Cueto win a career-best 19 games, Aroldis Chapman become one of the leagues best closers while saving 38 games, rookie Todd Frazier break out as a star and Jay Bruce win a Silver Slugger Award while hitting 34 homers with 99 RBIs. The club did some of its best work while its best player, Votto, was on the disabled list with an injured knee and went 32-16 in his absence.
There were tough times as manager Dusty Baker suffered a minor stroke near the end of the regular season and missed 11 games. After Baker returned, Cincinnati endured a crushing ouster from the NL Division Series to the eventual World Series champion Giants in five games.
Amid myriad injuries, the Reds won 90 games and still finished third behind the Cardinals and Pirates in an ultra-competitive National League Central race. It was a season that saw ace Johnny Cueto, cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick and relievers Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton all spend large chunks of time on the disabled list. Cincinnati reached the postseason for the third time in four seasons, but this time, it was as the second Wild Card team. Disappointment came again as the Reds were ousted in the one-game playoff at Pittsburgh to end the season on a six-game losing streak. The slide down the stretch cost manager Dusty Baker his job, and pitching coach Bryan Price was promoted to take his place in late October. On July 2 vs. the Giants, pitcher Homer Bailey threw his second-no hitter in less than a year (after also notching one Sept. 28, 2012, at Pittsburgh). Mat Latos picked up the slack from the missing Cueto to go 14-7 with a 3.16 ERA and 210 2/3 innings pitched. Acquired to fill a gap in the leadoff spot, Shin-Soo Choo delivered as he reached safely 300 times and finished second in the league behind Joey Votto with a .423 on-base percentage. Jay Bruce (109 RBIs) and Brandon Phillips (103 RBIs) set new personal bests.
After two consecutive postseason appearances, the Reds fell short of making it three after compiling a 76-win campaign to finish fourth in the NL Central in 2014. As is often the case with disappointing seasons, injuries played a key role. Joey Votto missed 100 games, leaving a large void in the heart of the order that was never quite able to be filled. Devin Mesoraco missed nearly 50 games but still managed to hit 25 home runs with 80 RBIs during a breakout season that earned him an All-Star nod. Also a first-time All-Star, Todd Frazier emerged as a major threat at the plate by leading the team with 29 homers and matching Mesoraco's 80 RBIs. On the pitching side, Johnny Cueto won 20 games, becoming the first Red to do so since Danny Jackson in 1988. His efforts got him to the All-Star game along with Aroldis Chapman who turned in yet another dominant season as a closer. Following the season, the Reds set their sights on replenishing their system with young talent when they traded Mat Latos to the Miami Marlins and Alfredo Simon to the Detroit Tigers. Latos had a 3.25 ERA in 16 starts while Simon was coming off an All-Star season where he won 15 games.
The 2015 season saw the Reds finish in last place for the first time since 1983, ending the longest active stretch out of the cellar among the four major pro sports. Amid the 98 losses, the club began a rebuilding process that it hopes can bring it back to prominence sooner than later. Mainstays like ace Johnny Cueto and rotation-mate Mike Leake were traded for prospects and after the season, so was third baseman Todd Frazier. An all-rookie rotation started the final 64-straight games after July 28, smashing an over 100 year old Major League record. It wasnt all bad, however. First baseman Joey Votto returned to form to finish third in the National League Most Valuable Player vote and Cincinnati successfully hosted the All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park. The biggest highlight of the week: Frazier winning the newly re-formatted Home Run Derby in thrilling fashion on his home field.