Where were you three months ago, when I really could have used you?

I find myself asking that very question whenever I see a list of Wall Street's quarterly winners. In a few days, you, too, will begin seeing the lists of the third quarter's best-performing stocks.

The lists are informative, although there comes a point when you start kicking yourself for missing the obvious gainers. Wouldn't it be great to get in before the quarter even started?

Of course. As a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter team of analysts, it's my job to unearth great growth stocks before the rest of the market starts piling on. So if you don't mind me playing the spoiler, let me see if I can pick out the upcoming quarter's biggest winners.

I'm not just picking stocks I like; I'm looking for stocks with fourth-quarter catalysts that will trigger a wave of buy orders over the next three months. Let's give it a shot. I'll be around in three months for bragging rights -- or to take my lumps.

I probably don't appear to be going out on much of a limb in singling out Crocs. The company behind those popular shoes -- you know, the super-cozy ones with the holes -- is already a trendy pick. The stock is a five-bagger since going public last year. It has also obliterated profit targets in every single quarter as a public company.

Let me tell you why things will get even better. Crocs enters the apparel business next month. The company isn't phoning it in like other hot brands do. Instead, it will be putting out unique clothing featuring a wearable form of the same Croslite closed-cell resin that makes its odor-zapping shoes so comfortable.

Crocs can win two ways here. First, it scores if if the line becomes a fashionable hit, which is likely, given the Crocs brand. Second, it succeeds if the Croslite features actually provide an improvement over ordinary garments. Crocs won't need to go above the ankle to have a strong holiday quarter. Its shoes, and the trend of accelerating earnings surprises, practically make it a lock. The clothing is just gravy -- the catalyst that the market hasn't priced into the shares.

4Kids (NYSE:KDE)
The Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! crazes that once catapulted stateside licensee 4Kids into the stratosphere have died down. So has the market's appetite for 4Kids' shares, but that may change with this month's debut of Chaotic.

On the surface, Chaotic is a lot like its previous licensed winners. The animated television show revolves around a trading card game. But unlike the other shows composing the four-hour Saturday morning programming block that 4Kids airs on Fox, the company actually owns a piece of this series. Instead of the royalty slivers it gets from licensed shows, 4Kids stands to make a mint as one of the content creators if Chaotic takes off.

Perhaps it's more than just a coincidence that Chaotic's website at ChaoticGame.com is far more interactive than anything 4Kids has yet attempted. Each trading card kids purchase contains a unique alphanumeric code, unlocking that card and its one-of-a-kind characteristics in electronic form. Those codes then unleash a free online gaming experience. It's like Webkinz -- only for competitive kids.

If it's a hit, watch 4Kids fly. If it's not, time is on the company's side until it catches lightning in a bottle again. The company's balance sheet is blessed with $8 a share in cash and investments -- essentially half of its current market cap.

XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR)
It's now been more than seven months since Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) and XM announced their plans to merge. It's been a long courtship, but a regulatory decision should be made early in the fourth quarter. If the deal goes through, both stocks will climb, given the obvious cost-cutting and promotional synergies. XM will rise even higher, since it trades at a discount to the merger's exchange ratio.

If the deal doesn't go through, XM may take a near-term hit. However, it's just a matter of time before the market warms up to satellite radio's potential. XM still expects to close out the year with more than 9 million subscribers (and another million cars on the showroom lots, just waiting to be turned on to XM). So much has been written about the potential merger that folks forget how both XM and Sirius were worth substantially more when they were substantially younger. As long as the listeners keep coming, the shareholders will eventually follow.

The DVR (digital video recorder) pioneer has been meandering in the single digits for years. TiVo may have the coolest toys in the DVR market, but the clones are everywhere. What can change during the quarter? Well, Oct. 4 will kick off oral arguments in DISH parent EchoStar's (NASDAQ:DISH) appeal in a patent dispute that is presently awarded in TiVo's favor.

If EchoStar loses out, more companies will follow the example of cable providers like Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), voluntarily paying TiVo to license its patent-rich technology instead of risking trampling on the DVR pioneer's intellectual property. A favorable ruling could really open up the floodgates of juicy royalty streams, even as TiVo attempts to innovate its way out of a confusing, crowded market.

Get your winners early
If I'm right, I promise I won't launch my own psychic hotline or put out a line of Munarriz crystal balls. I'll just continue to dig away with the rest of my Rule Breakers team in finding stocks with hidden, misunderstood, or underestimated catalysts.

After all, the end of the fourth quarter is so far away right now. Even if you disagree with my picks, my best advice to you is to find the stocks that have all of the right ingredients in place to truly make the market's head spin.

If you want to see what else Rick likes these days, you don't need a crystal ball. The Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter service is more fortune than cookie. A 30-day free subscription is available if you want to get through the first third of the fourth quarter for free.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz really would love getting those market-winner lists a quarter early. He does own shares in TiVo and 4Kids. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.