Throughout the 2011 MLB season, it was a constant "knock down, drag out" race for who would win the Cy Young Award in the National League. Between the breakout season for Ian Kennedy (the former Yankee farmhand now in Arizona), and the usual performances we've come to expect from guys like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, it took a special performance from a horrible team to overtake all three of those stud pitchers.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced today that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been named the National League Cy Young winner. At just 23 years old, he is the youngest pitcher to win the Cy Young Award since 20-year-old Dwight Gooden did it for the NY Mets in 1985.

Kershaw had a breakout 2011 season, establishing himself as the true ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff. He led the National League in wins (21), earned-run average (2.28) and strikeouts (248). His AL counterpart, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers, also led all three of the "Triple Crown" categories en route to winning the other Cy Young Award.

According to the BBWAA website, Kershaw was named first on 27 of the 32 ballots, cast by two writers in each NL city. He also was second on 3 ballots and third on 2.

As for the rest of the voting, Phillies ace Roy Halladay (the 2010 winner) was the runner-up with four first-place votes. The other first-place vote went to Arizona Diamondbacks righthander Ian Kennedy, who tied Kershaw for the NL lead in victories and finished fourth in overall voting behind Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee. Another Phillies pitcher, righthander Cole Hamels, rounded out the top five.