Investors are always hunting for the next big stock -- the dream stock whose price increases several times over when the market finally discovers it. It's easy to look back and discover the 10 best stocks of the past decade. But I'm more interested in the tools that can help me evaluate tomorrow's greatest companies.

Motley Fool CAPS offers a variety of resources to aid Fools in finding tomorrow's leaders. Our 160,000-member community is full of investors helping each other beat the market.

We'll enlist CAPS to screen for small-cap companies, then get the story behind some of its more highly rated stocks. CAPS' nifty screener will help us find stocks with:

  • A market cap between $100 million and $1 billion.
  • A three-year revenue growth rate of at least 30%.
  • A price-to-earnings ratio of less than 25.

Then we'll tap the collective intelligence of our CAPS members to see whether these companies present real opportunities -- or whether the numbers fail to tell the true story.

Opinions with the numbers
Below is a sample of stocks our screen returned.

Company

Revenue Growth Rate, Past 3 Years

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Paragon Shipping (Nasdaq: PRGN)

206.2%

*****

AgFeed Industries (Nasdaq: FEED)

182.6%

*****

Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG)

33.0%

****

Data and star rankings from CAPS as of March 19.

Paragon Shipping
Despite a financial crisis that's threatened to sink the country of Greece, many investors agree with Paragon Shipping's CEO that the dry bulk shipper is mostly insulated from the crisis as it has no intention of relying on government assistance over the years. Paragon is more focused on the growth of countries like China and India that can spur a recovery and potentially drive big demand for the shipment of commodities, which could also be a benefit for other shippers like Diana Shipping and Navios Maritime (NYSE: NM)

With 100% of its revenue days fixed for this year and the possibility of expanding its fleet, many CAPS members see solid potential in the company, as 97% of the 703 members rating Paragon Shipping expect it to outperform the market.         

AgFeed
The increasing demand for meat and other food among China's growing population is fueling optimism among many CAPS members for AgFeed, as well as peer agriculture companies like China Green Agriculture (NYSE: CGA) and Agria (NYSE: GRO). It recently reported record revenue and soaring production volumes at both its hog and animal nutrition divisions for 2009, and it expects to double the size of its distribution system in the coming years. With incomes for those living in rural China on the rise, investors like the company's strong financial position and a growth strategy that's geared toward increasing its share of a large market. 

As such, many investors look for AgFeed's business to continue to show strength, with 98% of the 1,081 CAPS members rating AgFeed bullish on its prospects to outpace the broader market.

Kodiak Oil & Gas
Kodiak's latest earnings release lists a number of records that the independent oil and gas explorer and producer broke in 2009, with revenue and production being two big ones. The company had a big increase in fourth-quarter oil production and was helped by rising oil prices that have prompted others like Chesapeake Energy to seek out oil plays. Many CAPS members are bullish on Kodiak's drilling program and debt-free balance sheet, and as the grab for oil shale plays heats up, investors like Kodiak's position in the promising Bakken, a place where others like Brigham Exploration (Nasdaq: BEXP) have a presence. 

In CAPS, 94% of the 365 members rating Kodiak Oil & Gas expect it to beat the broader market.

Let 160,000 members be the jury
The collective wisdom of a huge pool of investors can help give context to a page of numbers from a stock screen. But individual investors are still the best judges of what to do with their own money. Fools should always perform their own due diligence.

Happily, it's easy to chime in with your own opinion. If you agree that these companies present dream opportunities -- or see more of a nightmare instead -- simply scroll down and add your thoughts in the comments box.

Motley Fool Hidden Gems is your Foolish resource to help find promising investment opportunities in small cap stocks. Check out what stocks the service is looking at and investing in today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Dave Mock dreams of stocks and sugarplum fairies, but not together. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. China Green Agriculture is a Global Gains recommendation. Chesapeake Energy is an Inside Value selection. The Fool owns shares of Chesapeake Energy and China Green Agriculture. The Fool's disclosure policy screens the good, the bad and the ugly.