The Tigers know what brand of player they prefer Thursday night when their first-round draft turn arrives at No. 20 overall.

Ideally, they hope to grab a college starting pitcher who might be expected to work at Comerica Park in a couple of seasons, as was the case with Drew Smyly when the Tigers snatched him in 2010 from the University of Arkansas.

But no one can say with even reasonable certainty that Florida’s Jonathon Crawford will be there, or that Oral Roberts star Alex Gonzalez will have fallen into the Tigers’ laps with that 20th pick.

And so the Tigers are preparing the usual draft-night contingencies as they prepare to gorge on a first-round pick for the first time since 2009, an interlude explained by the Tigers forfeiting picks as compensation for free agents Jose Valverde, Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder.

David Chadd, the Tigers vice president of amateur scouting who captains the draft, is being flexible, as always, although he acknowledges the Tigers will lean toward a durable, high-octane college starter if one of their favorites should be unclaimed at that 20th slot.

“Sure, if we could find some advanced pitching we like,” Chadd said of the Tigers’ preferences. “But we won’t pass up on someone we think would have impact.”

That could always be a hitter, if the hitter shapes up as a bluer chip than the pitcher, and that would definitely be the case if D.J. Peterson, the University of New Mexico infielder, somehow slipped as Castellanos did in 2010.