Now, the selection of Nomo as number one is going to be highly disputed, I'm sure, but I'm ready to back it up.
Nomo was probably the most hyped foreign import of all time when he arrived. He did not disappoint the Dodger Stadium faithful in his first season.
He went 13-6 and led the league in strikeouts with an astounding 236. After averaging 14 wins and 234 K's from 1995-1997, Nomo fell off the face of the earth. From 1998-2005, Nomo would average just eight wins and 135 K's.
Nomo had one season (2002, his first year back in LA) that essentially saved face and prolonged his career. But if you take out that season, Nomo would average a 9-11 record with just 142 K's and a 5.18 ERA.
Nomo was a dominant force for four years out of his 11-year career. In the other seven, he was marginal to terrible.
In 2008, after being out of the majors since 2005, he appeared in three games for Kansas City. He gave up nine runs (all earned) in 4.1 innings, struck out just three batters, and was sent down with an 18.69 ERA.
One wonders what would've happened if Nomo had not pitched at all in Japan, where he averaged 16 wins and 240 K's to go along with 3.19 ERA, and instead had played those years in the majors, where he would have thrown considerably fewer innings. Could he have been dominant throughout his career?
He was one of the most highly touted young players ever, yet became nothing more than a marginal career MLB pitcher.
Career Totals (including Japan Stats)
201-155 Record, 3.71 ERA, 3,122 K's