2011 MLB Awards: The Year of the Pitcher

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The 2011 MLB season may go down in history as the Year of the Pitcher. Out of baseball's six major player awards, an astounding five went to pitchers. Who were this year's winners?

AL MVP: Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
Verlander became the first starting pitcher since 1986 (Roger Clemens) to win the both the MVP and Cy Young in the same season. Dennis Eckersley did it as a relief pitcher in 1992. Verlander received 13 of 28 votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America en route to winning the AL MVP.

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NL MVP: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)
The writers chose Ryan Braun over Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp. The Brewers' star left fielder hit .332 with 33 home runs, 111 RBIs and a .397 OBP, flourishing in a lineup that included fellow All-Star Prince Fielder.

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
Verlander was a shoo-in for this year's AL Cy Young award, with a 24-5 record, 2.40 ERA, 250 strikeouts and his second career no-no. In June, Verlander was virtually unhittable, posting a 6-0 record and 0.92 ERA for the month.

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Kershaw's season was almost as impressive as Verlander's. He posted a 21-5 record with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. The 23-year-old southpaw came into his own in the second half of the season, going 12-1 with a 1.31 ERA after the All-Star break.

AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson (Tampa Bay Rays)
Hellickson helped his team claim the AL Wild Card spot by posting a 13-10 record with a 2.95 ERA and 117 strikeouts.

NL Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta Braves)
The 23-year-old closer dominated the National League with 46 saves and a 2.10 ERA, while amassing the second-most innings pitched (79) of any MLB reliever in 2011. Kimbrel and Hellickson became the first AL-NL Rookie of the Year pitching duo since 1981.

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